CHICAGO — An Illinois man who had complained about parking, lights and noise at a mosque near his home has been charged with opening fire on the building.
Police said David Conrad, 51, of Morton Grove, a Chicago suburb, narrowly missed a security guard when he fired a "high velocity air rifle" during Friday evening Ramadan prayers. He faces felony charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm and criminal damage to property.
Conrad had attended hearings in 2003 and 2004 to oppose the mosque and expansion of the Muslim Education Center, which would displace a park, said Berdella Wehrmacher, 90, who said she accompanied him.
"It's the only park in the neighborhood," the Chicago Tribune quoted Conrad as saying at a 2003 meeting. "It is not replaceable."
Several residents expressed shock at the allegations, describing Conrad as helpful and mild-mannered.
"I just can't imagine that," Wehrmacher said. "We fought to keep it away not because it was a mosque, but because they took away our park."
A woman who answered the door at Conrad's home Sunday refused to comment.
The incident occurred less than a week after a rampage at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee that left seven people dead and three critically wounded. The shooter, a white supremacist, was among the dead.